Sunday, April 19, 2009

Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus)

The plant Indian Sarsaparilla is grown for it's root. The extract taken from the roots are the natural coolant and has a lot of medicinal qualities.

This medicinal plant is native to South Asia. The plant is a slender, laticiferous, twining shrub. The leaves are opposite, short-petioled, elliptic-oblong to linear-lanceolate. The roots are woody and aromatic. The inner part of the roots are white in color and the outer part is brown in color. The root has a pleasant odour with astringent taste.

Indian Sarsaparilla roots are mainly used to make beverages. An extract is prepared from its roots by means of steam distillation. It is then mixed with sugar or (palm sugar), water and citric acid proportionately to evolve a concentrate drink. Sugar is added, since to remove the astringent taste from it. These mixture acts as diaphoretic and also used as demulcent to relieve body pain. It keeps the body cool. Besides, Indian Sarsaparilla root is diuretic, as it tones up the urinary system and helps in preventing stone formation. It also controls tonsillitis.

It is also a component of several medicinal preparations in Ayurveda and administered in the form of powder, infusion or decoction as syrup.

local name: nannari
[image: the roots of Indian Sarsaparilla plant]